There’s Blender, and then there’s Vitamix Blender. I was a skeptic, but like my fellow gear reviewer Joe Ray, Vitamix made me a Blender person. A blender is, basically, a blade on top of a motor. Everything else just gets in the way. Why the motor Vitamix is so good. And yes, it’s expensive, but it’s worth it. Not the best deal we’ve seen for it, but it’s the best we’ve seen this year.
There is nothing like homemade ice cream. We didn’t test this 2-quart model, but I did use a smaller version and it was great. This is especially fun if you have kids who can create their own creative ice cream flavors.
The Tea Spot (CyberTA at checkout)
One of our favorite tea shops is having a site-wide sale. I especially like this tumblr, which acts as a brewer and keeps your tea hot for a few hours. The deal also gives you three tea samples. You will also receive free shipping (unless you live in Alaska or Hawaii).
This is our guide to the best chef’s knives, and it was the most common knife in all the restaurants I’ve worked with. It is light weight, holds the edge very well and the blade is thinner and softer than most European-style knives, making it easier to sharpen.
Williams-Sonoma, She, Dick’s Sporting Goods
Want to throw a pie party in the backyard of a house? Ooni’s Pizza Oven is the best we’ve tried. They’re all for sale, so it’s worth browsing the site yourself, but we think the best deal is the Karu 12 Multi-Fuel Oven. This gives you the flexibility to use wood or charcoal when taste is key, or switch to gas when you need pie in a hurry.
Take the Solo Ranger out of the kitchen with the fire pit. We love Solo Yukon, but it’s pretty big. This cheaper model offers the same well-contained (and smokeless) fire pit experience, smaller than that. It is perfect for roasting marshmallows after a nice barbecue.
Flight by Jing
Fly by Jing’s Sichuan Chile Crisp is hard to describe. It is spicy but not very spicy. It is oily but not too oily. It’s smoky, it’s delicious, and has small, wrinkled bits of pepper that add an interesting texture. It goes well with noodles, soups, pizzas and eggs, but some online testimonials swear that the sauce goes well with even peanut butter or ice cream. Wired Review Editor Julian Chokkattu likes it.
Cooking is all fun and games, but someone has to clean up. Make their (or your) life easier with this intelligent scrubber from Japan. I have a few, because it’s great for cleaning other things too – muddy boots, kitchen sinks, even burnt caramel — and it doesn’t usually leave scratch marks (that said, always check in an obscure place first).